Buckley to Breitbart?

Is Andrew Breitbart the new William F. Buckley, Jr?

When I saw the following headline for a post at Powerline, From Buckley to Breitbart, I actually figured it had to be a criticism of Breitbart’s clownish sensationalism when compared to William F. Buckley’s intellectualism.

But, no:

Considering his esprit as well as well as the splash of his Web sites, it seems to me that Andrew Breitbart may be the Wililam Buckley of the Internet Age — part journalist, part showman, part conservative visionary and ideological entrepreneur. He has an instinctive understanding of the media environment that is the base of the left’s cultural monopoly and he means to do his best to overthrow it.

To which I can only say:  wow.  If the best the conservative movement can do in terms of a key intellectual (so to speak) media representative is Andrew Breitbart, then the conservative movement is in even more trouble than I thought it was.

The piece concludes:

With the hounds baying, Andrew deserves the support of conservatives in his struggle with the Democrat-Media complex.

Indeed, this further bolsters what Doug Mataconis was saying yesterday:  How Andrew Breitbart, And The Conservative New Media, Failed.

FILED UNDER: Media, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Steve Plunk says:

    Dr. Taylor,

    Your insistence of lumping all conservatives and all arenas where conservatives may operate is where you are missing the boat. Breitbart is not the intellectual leader but rather a media leader. We also have political leaders who are different than the intellectual leaders. Understand?

    Breitbart has a role to play and fills it quite well. He threw something out there on a dare to show black racism and others panicked. As a Tea Party supporter he felt obligated to defend them and this was his way. Sarah Palin didn’t do it (political), the crew over at The Corner didn’t do it (intellectual), Breitbart did it (media).

    So this is not the best the conservative movement can do in terms of intellectual leadership but this is what the conservative movement can do in terms of new media and defending itself in the new media. Those who can’t make the distinction and can’t find where the intellectual leadership is at just aren’t trying.

  2. Brummagem Joe says:

    Further evidence, if any were needed, that Powerline along with most of the conservative blogosphere is quite willing to applaud and rationalize bad behavior when it’s by one of their own. There’s no more justification for Breitbart behaving like a slimeball than there is for Al Sharpton in my perhaps old fashioned conservative view.

  3. Pug says:

    … this is what the conservative movement can do in terms of new media and defending itself in the new media.

    Edited videotape that purports to show something it doesn’t and amounts to nothing more than a lie is the best they can do? That’s pretty sad.

  4. Chris Hedges was right about at least one thing in his most recent book — there are a lot of people out there who think that spectacle is the same thing as substance.

  5. john personna says:

    Well, if you wanted to think of a title and first line to make me ill, this is it.

    (I say that as an old-time Buckley show watcher, and lapsed Republican.)

  6. Tano says:

    Incidents like this Brietbart affair are extremely instructive – they provide the test of character that helps us all suss out who amongst the many voices we encounter, deserves a respectful hearing. IF conservatives cannot bring themselves to denounce the practices of this clown, then they really do not deserve a moment of our time.

    But we pretty much knew that about the PoweLine boys already, and also about some of the commenters here.

  7. ponce says:

    “Your insistence of lumping all conservatives and all arenas where conservatives may operate is where you are missing the boat. ”

    Where are the moderate Republicans denouncing fanatics like Breitbart?

  8. john personna says:

    Where are the moderate Republicans denouncing fanatics like Breitbart?

    Me? Of course, I count myself as I say, as either a “lapsed Republican” or an independent.

  9. John Cole says:

    Where are the moderate Republicans denouncing fanatics like Breitbart?

    I can’t stand the republican party, but this is unfair. One of the pleasantly surprising things this week was the number of Republicans who DID denounce Breitbart. It is funny you ask that on this website, because Taylor, Joyner, and Mataconis ALL have denounced Breitbart. Joyner went so far as to state he is a complete fraud who should never be given the benefit of the doubt.

    The only people I see defending Breitbart are the absolute fanatics- Riehl, John Hawkins, and the total dead-enders.

  10. Brummagem Joe says:

    “The only people I see defending Breitbart are the absolute fanatics- Riehl, John Hawkins, and the total dead-enders.”

    While there were exceptions like Jim, they were definitely in the minority as far a I can see. It’s because Jim is basically the voice of a sensible, middle of the road, conservatism that doesn’t deny reality that I’ve found my way here. Even blogs by people like Frum who claims to have seen the light are heavily peopled by diarists who are off the wall.

  11. […] me at OTB:  Buckley to Breitbart? addthis_url = 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.poliblogger.com%2F%3Fp%3D19254'; addthis_title = […]

  12. Juneau: says:

    All of the supposed “old time republicans” on here are a little amusing, and perhaps, indicative of why they are “old republicans.” Your generation of conservatism harkens back to a time when those on the other side had ethics, sincere differences of how to achieve a worthy goal, and some sense of “fair play.” That is not the case in today’s political environment.

    I mean, look at you. The left builds straw man arguments , and the “old school” republicans dutifully rise to the bait. The left has your number folks, and you need to stop letting them call the tune. Frankly, this “reactive” approach on the part of republicans in the Buckley generation is a big reason why we’re here right now. You’ve been so busy being “nice” and reasonable, and “statesmanlike”, that you let the left completely run you over.

    Forget about what the left says abut Breitbart. Let them clean up their own cesspool before you give them enough respect to feel like you have to address their charges. It’s just a distraction, as always, to keep everyone’s eyes off of the festering sores that they have, both philosophically and politically.

  13. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I don’t suppose any of you noticed the audience response when Sharrod made the statement where she said she did not give the White Farmer the full force of what she could do? That was what Breitbart was trying to demostrate. Those who are lost in their ideologies, the haters on the left who can never see the truth for it makes liars out of them, must blame the messager. Breitbart did not target Shirley Sharrod. The White House and the NAACP did. I did notice how she calls the GOP and Fox news racist and seems to think Bush did her some damage. Do you know Bush did more for AIDs in Africa than our current Kenyan faker. Some of you will take offense at the term Kenyan faker. Why is it his fathers citizenship is not transferred to his son? He has his fathers name why not his citizenship? Bretbart is a patriot, most of you here are pinheads including Taylor. You leftist.

  14. Juneau: says:

    Edited videotape that purports to show something it doesn’t and amounts to nothing more than a lie is the best they can do? That’s pretty sad.

    Do you find it equally sad when the left does the same thing, every news cycle, 24/7? If so, please state that as well.

  15. Juneau: says:

    IF conservatives cannot bring themselves to denounce the practices of this clown, then they really do not deserve a moment of our time.

    You’re a joke… unless you will denounce the members of the Journolist, Klein from the TIMES, the Washington Post, etc.

    Don’t even try to pull this one-sided baloney when those on the left suck up sewage and spout it off as news- every day.

  16. If the best defense one can mount is “the other side does it to” then one is showing one’s own moral bankruptcy.

  17. reid says:

    Especially when the other side DOESN’T do it, too. Adds an extra layer of bankruptcy to the mix.

  18. If the best defense one can mount is “the other side does it to” then one is showing one’s own moral bankruptcy.

    In Breitbart’s world, this is heresy.

    We’ve brought the world of politics down to the level of the elementary school playground.

  19. ponce says:

    “In Breitbart’s world, this is heresy. ”

    If a lowly creature like Breibart can get attention by spewing filth…isn’t that the fault of the American Right?

    /victimology

    Lee Atwater’s revenge?

    I find it has to believe the party that believes laughable slogans like “Tax cuts actually increase revenue!” suddenly has a problem with Breitbart’s shtick.

  20. Brummagem Joe says:

    ponce says:
    Friday, July 23, 2010 at 14:43
    “If a lowly creature like Breibart can get attention by spewing filth…isn’t that the fault of the American Right?”

    Spewing filth is THE WAY to get attention in America as any one of the exhibitionists and low lifes on American reality and shout shows could tell you. Breitbart has figured this out as have other jerks like that kid who tried to tamper with Landrieu’s phones. All Breitbart has to do is stay inside the law. These people have always been around, the difference is the fulcrum within the Republican party has shifted.

  21. Steve Plunk says:

    What exactly did Breitbart “spew”? He made it very clear he was not targeting Sharrod and was countering the racism accusations of the NAACP with tape from a NAACP meeting with racist undertones. In the aftermath many of us have reviewed the entire speech and concluded it a reasonable response to the NAACP.

    The complaint of editing is nonsense. Every newscast today carries edited clips of 5 seconds or less. This forced a more in depth conversation about race and racism that we all needed. Instead of vilifying the messenger let’s get back to the message.

    Dr. Taylor makes the accusation Breitbart represents the intellectual core of the conservative movement. That is mistaken, he is the part of the conservative movement into the media and especially the new media of the internet. If, and I will not conceded this point, he made a mistake is it as bad as Dan Rather’s forged document? Hardly. We need to get off Breitbart and back onto the real ideas and messages that are competing politically.

  22. Herb says:

    “What exactly did Breitbart “spew”?”

    Out of context, nakedly inaccurate information that cost a lady her job and became a huge political scandal. Good to know you’re okay with that…..

    “The complaint of editing is nonsense. Every newscast today carries edited clips of 5 seconds or less. ”

    Yes, every newscast edits for brevity. Are you saying that Breitbart was editing for time? Because my understanding is that he’s claiming he didn’t edit anything. He received the tape, it sounded good, and he posted it. Do you think a newscast would do that?

    “We need to get off Breitbart and back onto the real ideas and messages that are competing politically.”

    Yes, like birth certificates and death panels and socialism and all the other nonsense coming from the right wing these days.

  23. Juneau: says:

    We’ve brought the world of politics down to the level of the elementary school playground.

    I see. And that happened just now because of this issue over the Breitbart video? And, naturally, since it was someone from the right, we have suddenly discovered this intense interest in the “full context” of information disseminated to the public? My, you are quite selective in your focus, aren’t you?

    Good morning Rip Van Winkle… How was your nap, was it restful?

  24. Juneau: says:

    Yes, like birth certificates and death panels and socialism and all the other nonsense coming from the right wing these days.

    Enjoy your moment in the sun. It’s not going to last long.

  25. Juneau: says:

    If the best defense one can mount is “the other side does it to” then one is showing one’s own moral bankruptcy.

    If the only examples shown are always from one side of the issue, then one is showing one’s own moral bias.

    Mr. Taylor, kindly direct me to the articles you have written about national stories related to video and news reports from the left which have been shown to be inaccurate.

    I understand and agree with the “two wrongs don’t make a right” argument. Just try discussing and showing the first wrong as well, hmmm?

  26. ponce says:

    “Just try discussing and showing the first wrong as well, hmmm?”

    I don’t think there’s a precedent for a cabal like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Breitbart leading a major political party.

    I believe the term for such a unique freak show is “Sui generis.”

  27. Brummagem Joe says:

    Oddly enough the photos could well have appeared in a “Separated at Birth” column. Perhaps Breitbart is Bill’s love child.

  28. Pug says:

    Edited videotape that purports to show something it doesn’t and amounts to nothing more than a lie is the best they can do? That’s pretty sad.

    Do you find it equally sad when the left does the same thing, every news cycle, 24/7? If so, please state that as well.

    Pitiful. Your Mama wouldn’t buy the old “he started it” argument, would she?

  29. The Q says:

    Will you morons quit stating that Breitbart was only trying to point out the putative racism of the crowd at the NAACP meeting.

    That is disingenuous twaddle and you know it.

    If this was an isolated event in his journalistic resume, you may have a point, but put into the Gestalt of his work, it clearly fits into a pattern of race baiting in its most puerile form.

    Its like seeing a video of a court case where the prosecutor asks if the defendant shot a man in the head and the defendant says yes, and the tape stops.

    And you guys all jump up and down and say, see he’s a murderer, he’s a murderer.

    But then wait, when the rest of the tape is played, the defendant then says , “yes I shot him in the head because he was raping my wife.”

    A little different context right you nut cases?

    Mr. Plunk like a buddhist monk keeps repeating his shit screed over and friggin’ over again.

    Give it up aholes. (sorry, no respect should be given to you loons on the right, Plunk, Zagnut juneau et al.)

    I mean at some point when reason and rationale fail, some just need to be bitch slapped into reality.

    Breitbart, for those not from the west side of LA, was a liberal Jew who went to Palisades High and grew up in Brentwood, the enclave of everything the wingnuts in middle America hate. They are the vegan, cappacino sipping, Hollywood elite. limousine liberals that are the punching bag of every conservative pundit, Waxman is their congressperson..get the picture?

    Breitbart was a ne’er do well pot smoker who married Orson Bean’s daughter. Bean the ultimate Venice hippy who later turned right as did alot of worthless hacks from his generation.

    Breitbart discovered his place in the sun by being the court jester, the guy who throws the stink-bomb in the movie theater, the adolescent who thinks its hilarious to burp “fu$ck you” at the dinner table.

    This is no paragon of journalism and for you dopes who defend him I ask this question:

    How apoplectic do you guys get when the Rev. Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson get involved in some local issue and play the race card. I am sure most of you reach for the inhaler.

    There is no way I would ever condone or justify some of the stupid positions those two have taken. As a New Deal Democrat it would be natural to try and defend them, but I have a brain and can make a distinction between assholes and legitimate criticism.

    Somehow you wingnuts turned off that critical faculty. I appreciate Mr. Joyner and some of the other moderate conservatives who, like moderate liberals, can call out folly when its obvious.

    Those that are pathetically incapable of doing so will get flamed by me every time.

    Mr. Plunk will respond with his insipid defense in 5, 4, 3,…..

  30. anjin-san says:

    Dr. Taylor makes the accusation Breitbart represents the intellectual core of the conservative movement. That is mistaken,

    OK, I give. Who exactly does represent the intellectual core of the conservative movement? Most of the commentary I hear would be embarrassing coming from a writer on a high school paper. We are talking about a world who’s axis seems to revolve around Sarah Palin, who is pretty much of a nitwit.

  31. Juneau: says:

    Pitiful. Your Mama wouldn’t buy the old “he started it” argument, would she?

    What’s pitiful is the extreme mileage that you all are trying to get out of this. Actually, I hope you keep it up. The more that comes out about Sherrod, the worse she looks. The full version shows even more racist statements on her part than the truncated one. I think she should apologize to Breitbart before she gets in any deeper.

  32. mol says:

    Steve Plunk: “Your insistence of lumping all conservatives and all arenas where conservatives may operate is where you are missing the boat. Breitbart is not the intellectual leader but rather a media leader.”

    It was Powerline, not ST that compared him to Buckley who most definitely was an intellectual leader. Breitbart has more in common — in terms of style and substance — with the John Birch Society, famously discredited and marginalized by Buckley (but only temporarily it seems, now that they are reborn as the Tea Party).

    Steve Plunk: “this is what the conservative movement can do in terms of new media and defending itself in the new media.”

    And that sad fact reinforces ST’s point. The man you praise is a fraud. As a journalist, he makes Michael Moore look like Walter Cronkite.

  33. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***I mean at some point when reason and rationale fail, some just need to be bitch slapped into reality.***lol, would you like to meat somewhere?

    bitch slapped, lol……………..

    What a punk.

    ***Those that are pathetically incapable of doing so will get flamed by me every time.***lol….

  34. Steve Plunk says:

    Ah, the Q. Name calling, substance lacking, and a kooky enough post to nearly feel the spittle flying. We need a doctor and quick. I had a nice Saturday with various meats on the smoker so I was tardy in responding 5, 4, 3, and so on. Forgive me as I forgive you for completely losing it. Any who, back to my lovely evening. I got better things to do.